The Truth About Cars » carrera http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Tue, 16 Sep 2014 19:53:01 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » carrera http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Review: 2013 Porsche 911 Carrera S – Track and Field http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/07/review-2013-porsche-911-carrera-s-track-and-field/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/07/review-2013-porsche-911-carrera-s-track-and-field/#comments Tue, 03 Jul 2012 13:00:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=451010 Imagine it’s 1998 and you’re the successful CEO of a company that makes, oh I don’t know, jewel cases for CDs. Business is booming and your four-year-old 911 Carrera coupe isn’t quite the paradigm you want to project. You’re moving with the times, and there’s a new, modern 911 coming. Keys in hand, you walk […]

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Imagine it’s 1998 and you’re the successful CEO of a company that makes, oh I don’t know, jewel cases for CDs. Business is booming and your four-year-old 911 Carrera coupe isn’t quite the paradigm you want to project. You’re moving with the times, and there’s a new, modern 911 coming.

Keys in hand, you walk into your local Por-shuh dealership and… what the hell is that thing?

Flash forward to 2012 and your company now makes an app of some variety: iPaintswatch or some such nonsense. You’re minting money at $0.99-per-download, and your ’08 silver-on-black C2S is due for replacement – your business partner just bought himself an R8, and you simply must have LED running lights to keep up appearances.

You head back to that same dealership – which is now equipped with a cappuccino machine – squeeze past four Cayennes and three Panameras and feast your eyes on the newest 911…

Well first off, my eyes! The goggles do nothing! This (terrible) colour is called Lime Gold, and puts me in mind of the bilious shade you used to be able to get the E46 M3 in. Look, the 911 is a businessman’s coupe, not one of Ali G’s track-suits: after the tenth person said “nice car, too bad about the colour,” I figured the market research portion of the review was over.

Looking past the paint-job, the new 911 is long and languid, smeared out across those big blingy wheels. And, for some reason, someone’s hot-glued a chromed ingredient list on the back bumper. Again, enough with the booyakasha.

Still, looking at the smoothed, stretched and polished form of the Panamera Coupe, I’m sure you can make an educated guess as to how it’s going to drive.

You guessed right.

Jack Baruth informs that I was impressed by the new 911 at a Porsche-run press event. Not an entirely accurate representation: firstly, I was tagging along at a private driver-instruction day which was individually paid for by participants and Porsche Canada – bless their little Nomex socks – covered the tab for a few journalists to have track instruction time in two of their cars.

Secondly, the 991 didn’t so much impress as meet expectations. A lengthened wheelbase has the big flat-six slouching towards mid-enginehood to be born as the world’s biggest Cayman; no rough beast this, it’s a 3.8L direct-injection mill that surges against the reins once the revs crest four thousand, every one of its 400 horses a thoroughbred.

Not that you’ll ever see the thing: pop the bonnet and all you glimpse is what appears to be the cooling fans out of a desktop PC. Achtung! Fiddling vis ze motor is verboten!

With front-track widened to improve bite and enough aluminum in the bodywork to qualify as a tinfoil hat, the 991 is such an easy car to drive fast: brake later, turn in more aggressively, power-on sooner. The electric steering is perhaps a touch less communicative than the 997′s, but the difference has been over-reported – it’s still good enough to have Audi engineers flinging themselves from Ingolstadt parapets.

The 991 flows through the corners in a liquid manner, as velvety as the Scotch burr of my driving instructor. Later in the afternoon, his son will be having me sturming the curbs in the Panzerkreig Panamera GTS. Here we flick through the chicanes like a steelhead through a riverbend. Smooth, smooth, smooth, fast. Even on this soggy, debris-laden track, I am relaxed and confident: any idiot could drive this thing fast. Any idiot, in fact, is.

Wonderful stuff, but $60K better than a Cayman R? I don’t think so. Then again, take the 911 to the streets – where I found little brother’s bookend seat-bolsters and twitchy wet-weather behaviour to be liabilities; here, through the week, the 911 begins justifying its price tag.

The new interior is as button-festooned as the cockpit of a business jet and thus, feels like a business jet. 911s have always been expensive, here’s one that won’t have you terrifying your passengers at extra-legal speeds by way of explaining the cost.

Road noise is halved from the 997. I burble home on a busy evening freeway, heavily pregnant wife at my side. Both of us are somewhat tired out from a hot afternoon at a summer wedding, and the 991 is taut, yet forgiving. A supremely relaxing place to be. She dozes. I feel rested.

Hang on, is that a tunnel up ahead?

Windows down. Sunroof open. Sport Plus. Sport Exhaust. Manual PDK. Bang bang bang on the downshift – a stab at the go-pedal and the tiles echo to the wailing honk of a flat-six. Brake, stab. Brake, stab. Brake, stab.

She rolls her eyes. I chuckle. And yet…

You want track performance? The 991 has a button for that. You want a smooth and cosseting street drive? There’s a button for that. You want to act like a loon or have a start-stop system that’s so quick you can be sitting at a light with your engine off and still blow the doors off 95% of whatever rolls up next to you? Buttons for both.

You want a visceral, emotional connection? Where the hell’s that button?

Everyone likes to talk about the 911′s evolution; an engineer’s gradual progression, each year a slight improvement. Really though, there’s a disconnect.

If you think the 911 should be a small-volume, hand-built car that’s engaging and ruthlessly mechanical, then good news. The toughness that Porsche built into the air-cooled Luftwaffe means that even a moderately-preserved example can make for a good daily-driver.

There are squadrons of specialists to care for these cars, warehouses packed with spare parts, and while the air-cooled cars may have their dynamic and ergonomic quirks, they’re easy to drive in modern traffic, even in less-than-ideal conditions. Buy one and you’ll also enjoy a depreciation curve that’s as horizontal as the Bonneville Salt flats.

But after 1998, the 911 was something different. No longer the car that burst forth from the Beetle’s chrysalis, it’s become the everyday sportscar, an instrument of speed that’s as capable on the track as it is at everyday life. Each successive generation has been faster, more flexible, more capable.

The difference between an air-cooled 911 and the current 991 is the difference between a finely-crafted mechanical watch and an iPad. The watch does one thing, and does it well. The iPad does everything and does it all better than the watch.

But the watch is not just a watch, whereas the iPad is just a very fancy tool. The craftsmanship that went into making the watch no longer exists and it is therefore irreplaceable. The iPad is only as good as the latest update, and like Apple, only a few months in and Porsche has already released a version that is very slightly improved.

It is the best Porsche yet. The best 911 ever. A technical marvel and an engineering masterpiece and one of the finest pieces of machinery ever made. It is probably the best car I will drive all year.

And I don’t want one.

Porsche Canada provided the car tested and insurance as well as comping the aforementioned on-track driver instruction day. Photos by Kieran McAleer where noted.

991 Picture Courtesy Brendan McAleer 991 Picture Courtesy Brendan McAleer 991 Picture Courtesy Brendan McAleer 991 Picture Courtesy Brendan McAleer 991 Picture Courtesy Brendan McAleer 991 Picture Courtesy Brendan McAleer 991 Picture Courtesy Brendan McAleer 991 Picture Courtesy Brendan McAleer 991 Picture Courtesy Brendan McAleer 991 - Picture Courtesy Kieran McAleer 991 - Picture Courtesy Kieran McAleer 991 - Picture Courtesy Kieran McAleer 991 - Picture Courtesy Kieran McAleer 991 - Picture Courtesy Brendan McAleer 991 Picture Courtesy Kieran McAleer 991 Picture Courtesy Kieran McAleer Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail

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Review: 2012 Porsche Carrera 4 PDK http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/11/review-2012-porsche-carrera-4s/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/11/review-2012-porsche-carrera-4s/#comments Mon, 14 Nov 2011 18:24:04 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=418160 I know what you’re thinking. I’m thinking it too. Why me? How, with a host of competent hot-shoes, seriously-journalistic scribes and industry insiders here at TTAC, do the keys to a presser Porsche 911 get handed to the guy who publicly admitted to being not a very good driver and who has an unfortunate tendency […]

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I know what you’re thinking.

I’m thinking it too.

Why me? How, with a host of competent hot-shoes, seriously-journalistic scribes and industry insiders here at TTAC, do the keys to a presser Porsche 911 get handed to the guy who publicly admitted to being not a very good driver and who has an unfortunate tendency to use four long words where one short one would do nicely? Would not the readership be better served by someone who could give you an in-depth, accurate 10/10ths dynamic assessment, or a brief, sober buyer’s summary?

Oh, probably. But there are two very good reasons I’ve got this thing.

First, I asked Porsche nicely. And repeatedly. Being that I’m in Canada, politeness works here like a Jedi mind-trick.

Secondly, this 911 is no adrenal-gland-prodding trackday GT3, nor supercar-blitzing Turbo S. Neither is it the new 991 nor the 997 that every other publication has already told you “is the one you want” – the GTS. Scope the specs on this particular slice of Stuttgart spizzarkle: four-wheel-drive, automatic transmission, “base” 3.6L engine – it might as well have training wheels attached.

Quite simply, what we have here is a 911 for Mr. Average, and if you ignore the fact that I’m a ginger, that’s me. I shall put on a hat and go drive it.

A stylistic critique of the 997, 2012 model or not, would be futile. Porsche has been honing the 911′s silhouette since 1963, and this particular variant has been kicking around since the ’05 model year.

Assuming that you don’t live on the moon, you’ve doubtless seen some trim level of the current 911 sitting curbside and drawn your own conclusions about the slippery reversed teardrop with the cello haunches. Corporate grilles be damned, every nuance of a 911′s shape is burned into the collective’s zeitgeist. This is the Porsche, the stallion-crest flag-bearer, and I suppose the only cosmetic things I can point to here are the slightly nicer optional Turbo wheels my tester is fitted with, and the fact that the last few years of 997s have been fitted with larger air intakes and the ubiquitous LED running lights.

But here’s the thing, the thrill I feel as I slide into the near-perfect seats and spend a few clumsy seconds trying to start the car with the key in my right hand (oh right, ignition’s on the left) is short-lived. Despite the flawless autumnal splendour of a rare sunny day in the Pacific Northwest, it takes all of ten city blocks for an invisible hand to twist the dimmer on the neon sign that’s blinking, “OH EMM GEE – I’m driving a 911!” in my head.

In quick succession I am passed by a V10 Audi R8, a white 458 Italia and a bright orange Lamborghini LP-550-2 Valentino Balboni. Hmmm.

Here in the City of Glass with its many narcissism-inducing reflective surfaces – the place that invented the butt-sculpting yoga pant (not that I had anything to do with it, but You’re Welcome) – a 911 Carrera is insufficient for posing; I might as well be driving a 2012 GTi for all the attention I’m garnering. The 911 might be the Porsche, but here it’s also just a Porsche.

The muted grey of this car’s Platinum Silver Metallic paintwork may have something do do with it, but the cheery fact is that the 911 has, over the years, gradually shed the Gordon Gekko ostentation of a crimson, whale-tailed 964 convertible. In an age where hot Bimmers are slathered in M badging and skittle-shaded entry-level coupes like the Hyundai Veloster boast big, blingy, colour-matched rims, mid-line variants of the 911 seem restrained, discreet, reserved. To my mind, that’s a good thing.

A Carrera4 is not – supposedly – meant to be coddled, so through the week a 911 becomes my commuter car. This is not as much fun as it sounds: I have a short drive to work, but at this time of year it’s a tangled mess, clotted with lumps of slow-moving SUVs, snarled by construction and confounded by sheer volume. Each day, I walk out to be greeted by the permeating dampness of a West Coast winter and learn a little more about the idea of a 911 as a daily driver.

Most of it is good. The PDK is somewhat clunky from cold, but soon warms up and begins shuffling through the gears imperceptibly and rapidly; sixth and sometimes seventh gear is achieved at not much more than side-street speeds of 30mph. Smooth yes, sporty no.

The sport seats, as previously mentioned, are fantastic: grippy yet cosseting. The steering-wheel is blissfully free of buttons and gently nudges your hands towards the correct 3-and-9 position. The rest of the interior is fairly spartan, and little different from that of a base-equipped Boxster. Satellite navigation is straightforward to use, the iPod interface is fiddly.

Visibility is excellent. Ride is firm, but acceptable. Tire roar stops just short of Nissan 370Z levels. Parallel parking at first brings beads of sweat to the brow in fear of curbing those low-offset rims, but becomes a doddle with a few days practice.

Whatever visceral tug that iconic shape gave me on Monday morning has been eroded by Saturday evening. The Carrera4 has been competent, welcoming, even reasonable on fuel, but in the day-to-day of city driving it has yet to shine. At this point, it might be tempting to scan the option list and begin grumping about the outrageous cost of extras that should be standard on a $100K car – $400 for auto-dimming mirrors? Really?

Instead, it’s time to head East.

As the sun slips down behind us and the scenery changes from skyscraper-and-supercar to pickup trucks n’ Holsteins, I can feel a little knot of anticipation growing in the pit of my stomach. I’m heading home.

Here, high in the hills above the fertile Fraser Valley, I awake early on Sunday morning to find the 911 coated with crystalline ice, its badge encrusted in hoarfrost. Day is breaking, diamond-bright and brittle-blue, brilliant with all the promise of a cloudless wintry sky. I fire up the big flat-six and a low-pitched thrum backs the percussive tappeting of valves as clouds of vapour issue from twin exhausts to hang in the cold, clear air.

While the frost clears from the windshield, I retreat to the warmth of the kitchen to chat over coffee with my father. About what I can’t remember: it’s not important.

“You want to go for a ride, Dad?”

The Porsche’s summer tires – I am the last to drive this car so shod – are frozen hard as hockey pucks and scrabble at the cracked and heaved pavement at the foot of the driveway. I have the car in Sport Mode with Porsche’s Active Stability Management engaged. This car is fitted with Sport Chrono – a must-have for PDK-equipped cars – and while engaging Sport+ on a public road is the province of sociopaths, kicking the 911 into sport transforms it.

We go haring up the first of several hills, the pleasant whuffling of the Carrera’s exhaust crescendoing into a sonorous turbine-tenor, hard first-to-second, second-to-third shifts hammering us back in the seats with a thump. Finally, Porsche has seen fit to add proper paddle-shifters, though they’re steering-wheel mounted, rather than on the steering column. We climb.

These are the roads I grew up on, intestinal loops of off-camber, often slippery asphalt, patchworked with hasty repairs, rumpled, rutted, rippled, dimpled and undulating. I have ridden the school bus on them, have sat shotgun in my Dad’s ’85 535i as we flew along through tree-dappled sunlight, have nursed a recalcitrant Land Rover along at imprudent speeds during my rash teenage years, have driven them home in the first car I paid for with my own money.

Dad taught me to drive here in that stick-shift E28, and here I am taking him for a ride in one of the finest pieces of machinery ever engineered. We blast along winding, sunny country roads with snow-capped mountains and frost-coated fields as the backdrop, whipping up red-and-yellow vortices of fallen leaves to swirl in our wake. If this is all beginning to sound a bit like a Porsche commercial, that’s pretty much how it felt.

With a dual-clutch gearbox, all-wheel-drive and a hefty price tag, this 911 invites direct comparison to the Nissan GT-R. In fact, picking Godzilla over this car (as optioned) would leave about $10K remaining in your jeans. As a kid, I would have said it was a no-brainer: the car that boasts the better numbers is the better car.

However, I’ve had a reasonable amount of seat-time in Nissan’s scalp-taker, and it’s a very angry, impatient, heavy thing. Where the GT-R stomps, crushing curving tarmac like a steamroller with R-compounds, the 911 fairly dances along the roads.

The Porsche has a taut, sinewy feel as you feed it into a corner and then squeeze the throttle out, feeling a slight hip-pivot caused by the mild pendulum effect of that rear-mounted engine. We’re not hurrying, simply flowing through well-known and well-worn twists and turns, watching for slippery patches and keeping an eye out for neighbours out on horseback. The roads remain abandoned.

I slow as we come to a corner where I remember a past winter’s ice, and sure enough, some badly dug ditchwork has allowed twin rivulets to flow across the steeply pitched road and freeze into thin and splintered sheets. Just for a lark, I lightly goose the throttle from low speed as the 911 picks its way across the ice-patch gingerly, shifting the power around like a cat lifting and shaking its paws as it walks across a wet floor. The result is undramatic: this car is equipped with the new electrically-controlled all-wheel-drive system out of the 997 Turbo, capable of putting 100% of the power to either axle. As the front wheels grip dry tarmac, I’m temporarily piloting a front-wheel-drive 911. Blasphemy.

It’s also capable of an incredible standing start with launch control activated. After stopping to take a quick picture I test it out: Sport+ button engaged. Stand on the brake pedal, bury the throttle in the carpet. 6500rpm. Release the brake.

The result? 0-60 in 4.6 seconds and some seriously impressed Herefords. Or they could be bored. Or hungry. Cattle are a pretty inscrutable lot.

I could drive this car here forever, endlessly looping these empty roads, but this is a fleeting moment and it’s time to return to reality and hand the keys back. But not before handing out one more free ride.

On our way back to the city, we stop in to see a very good friend who is completely useless about cars. His son is just turning five, and is somehow developing into a full-fledged gearhead despite his dad’s neglected Honda Civic and practical minivan. The house is littered with Hot Wheels and Pixar characters. Does he want to go for a ride?

Seconds later, we’re all strapped in, windows down with the heat on full. Bang-bang-bang through the gears and then hard on the brakes as we all dissolve into helpless, joyous laughter. “Uncle Brendan, this car is more fun than I thought it was going to be,” I’m informed with all the irony-free seriousness that the only the very young can manage. Amen to that.

You can buy a 911 in eighteen different flavours, and while this car skews slightly from the way I’d pick mine (skip the PDK, spec an “S”, hold off on the all-wheel-drive and sat-nav and spend the money on driving lessons instead), it’s still a very special car. If you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up.

The new 991 is already here, and I can’t wait to drive it and compare it to the low-mile 993 I drove a few weeks ago, and to this, last hurrah of the 997. The truth of this car? If you save up and manage to swing the lease payments, or pick a used one up with 30K on the clock for the same price as a new STi, then you will discover the same thing I have. Just occasionally, there is meat behind the legend. Just occasionally, the reputation is earned.

Porsche provided the vehicle, insurance and one tank of gas for this review.

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New 911: It’s A Porsche! http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/08/new-911-its-a-porsche/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/08/new-911-its-a-porsche/#comments Wed, 17 Aug 2011 16:14:46 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=407640 Though this new 911 is all-new from the ground-up, and some two and a half inches longer than its predecessor… well, it looks like just another 911, doesn’t it? The Panamera-style interior is the biggest change in terms of design, but the rest of the design is just a tweaked-and-smoothed version of the shape we’ve […]

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Though this new 911 is all-new from the ground-up, and some two and a half inches longer than its predecessor… well, it looks like just another 911, doesn’t it? The Panamera-style interior is the biggest change in terms of design, but the rest of the design is just a tweaked-and-smoothed version of the shape we’ve become very accustomed to. Of course, nobody was expecting anything dramatic from the model that defines evolutionary design in the modern car world, but after the major improvement between the 996 and 997 generations, I was expecting a little more than this. Oh well, at least it’s still a 911.
991a 991b 991c You were expecting something different? 991e 991f Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail

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What’s Wrong With This Picture: Porsche’s Slow Burn Edition http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/11/whats-wrong-with-this-picture-porsches-slow-burn-edition/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/11/whats-wrong-with-this-picture-porsches-slow-burn-edition/#comments Tue, 09 Nov 2010 18:03:15 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=371978 According to Auto Motor und Sport, the next-generation Porsche 911 (991) will have its wheelbase extended by ten centimeters compared to the current model, a concession to US emissions standards which are categorized by footprint. The new elfer will also lose about 88 pounds and gain stop-start technology, in yet another nod to tightening global […]

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According to Auto Motor und Sport, the next-generation Porsche 911 (991) will have its wheelbase extended by ten centimeters compared to the current model, a concession to US emissions standards which are categorized by footprint. The new elfer will also lose about 88 pounds and gain stop-start technology, in yet another nod to tightening global emissions standards. Oh yes, and the handbrake will become an electrically-controlled switch similar to the unit in the Panamera. Otherwise… has anything changed? These Erlkönig spy shots reveal the biggest non-story in all of automotive-dom: the 911′s styling really won’t change all that much for its newest iteration. Yes, the most consistently-styled car of the modern era will get slightly steeper front headlights, a more tapered rear end, and fewer vestigal cooling vents that survived the switch from air-cooled to water-cooled engines, thanks to the Porsche’s legendarily stubborn styling department. Otherwise, the updates are incredibly subtle (those side vents are taped-on camo, according to AM und S).

Can the Carrera continue like this forever? Will faithfulness to its classical form ever wear thin? A quick comparison of 911 sales to Boxster/Cayman sales (4,751 to 3,036 in the US, year-to-date) suggests that’s not going to be a problem anytime soon…

911f 911e 911a 911 911b 911d 911c

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Ask the Best And Brightest: Should Evolution be Fat or Skinny? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/09/ask-the-best-and-brightest-should-evolution-be-fat-or-skinny/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/09/ask-the-best-and-brightest-should-evolution-be-fat-or-skinny/#comments Fri, 10 Sep 2010 15:03:47 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=365325 While reading the responses to a recent BMWBLOG posting by Josh Lewis, I noted that one of the posters had put together a very interesting comparison of the BMW M3 and the Porsche 911. To put it mildly, somebody’s gone Kirstie Alley while somebody else has stayed Goldie Hawn: Here’s the comparison, with the data […]

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While reading the responses to a recent BMWBLOG posting by Josh Lewis, I noted that one of the posters had put together a very interesting comparison of the BMW M3 and the Porsche 911. To put it mildly, somebody’s gone Kirstie Alley while somebody else has stayed Goldie Hawn:

Here’s the comparison, with the data being attributed to Wikipedia, Porsche, and BMW media resources. I’ve removed the GT3 and added the Carrera 3.2 to keep things historically similar:

BMW M3:
E30: 2,740 pounds, 192 HP, 17/29 mpg, L=171″,W=66.1″
E36: 3,219 pounds, 240 HP, 19/26 mpg, L=174.5″, W=67.3″
E46: 3,415 pounds, 333 HP, 16/24 mpg, L=176.8″, W=70.1″
E92: 3,704 pounds, 414 HP, 14/20 mpg, L=180.3″, W=70.2″

Porsche 911 (base):
911: 2,700 pounds, 207 HP, 15/22 mpg, L=169″, W=65″
964: 3,031 pounds, 247 HP, 17/25 mpg, L=168″, W=65″
993: 3,064 pounds, 282 HP, 17/25 mpg, L=167.1″, W=68.3″
996: 2,910 pounds, 296 HP, 19/28 mpg, L=174.4″, W=69.5″
997: 3,075 pounds, 325 HP, 18/26 mpg, L=175.6″, W=72.9″

*1984 Carrera 3.2 US spec

Based on what I’ve seen over a few years instructing at open trackdays, I would suggest that the average novice driver will be somewhat faster around a track in the M3, but that the difference decreases dramatically as the skill level of the drivers increases.

Who’s got it right: Porsche, which has kept weight and power close to the Nineties levels, or BMW, which keeps turning up the volume?

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